Kylie Javier Ashton has dealt with forged bookings and martini glass accidents; she's disguised Alex Atala with garbage bags, and endured countless people throwing up when she's been on the job (“you could see the frequency of the voms go up when the scampi dish was on” is one of the most memorable lines from this interview). Having survived all that, it's clear that she still loves her work and wants people to join the industry (as her involvement in Women In Hospitality, Appetite For Excellence and Grow shows).
Kylie Javier Ashton got her start at Tetsuya’s, when it was ranked in the Top 5 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. She's since become the award-winning restaurant manager at Momofuku Seiobo, which has been twice-named the best restaurant in Australia by Gourmet Traveller. Not a bad place for her to be, considering she didn't "even know how to carry plates" when she entered the industry.
Kylie has many amazing stories to tell, and covers it all, from what it's like to actually work with David Chang, the background to Paul Carmichael's food at Seiobo and why she asks her staff to give presentations on Caribbean culture, and the reality of your restaurant being in two pieces in The New York Times: one by Pete Wells, the other by Besha Rodell.
Plus: that memorable period running Duke Bistro with Mitch Orr, Thomas Lim and Mike Eggert (which followed her spell at Bentley Restaurant & Bar with Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt – the "hardest" place she worked). And let's not forget the time she also boxed in Cuba.
I LOVED talking to Kylie for this interview and she drops some of the best lines I've heard (it's worth listening to this episode so you can discover why “I’ve just been out on Oxford Street with an eyepatch” and “I didn’t realise I was Wolverine for so long" are two of the greatest things anyone has ever said on this podcast)!